Breaking Down Dwyane Wade's New Li-Ning Shoe Line

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

Courtesy of dimemag.com
Courtesy of dimemag.com

Dwyane Wade's departure from Jordan brand sneakers doesn't mean the Miami Heat player is done making shoes. He's going to remake his sneaker style with Chinese brand Li-Ning.

The first models have arrived, although Wade insisted to Associated Press reporter Tim Reynolds (via Yahoo! Sports) that ''what you see in China will not be the final product."

Either way, we know what we're looking at. According to Reynolds' report, "Wade's line of apparel and footwear is to be available at Li-Ning retail stores and online in China 'soon,' with a U.S. retail debut expected in 2013. His shoes are expected to sell for about $120."

That means sneakerheads will get their shot at his new line of kicks, which also means you better know exactly what you're purchasing.

Let's break these shoes down from tongue to sole.

"Wow" Factor: 5 out of 10

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The only "wow" involved with these is that Wade would jump from Jordan brand to create something that looks like this:

For me, these shoes look juvenile. They lack flair and clean design, and they don't look all that comfortable either.

Admittedly, the black version looks much better up close. Black is always a solid color to go with, whether it be shoes, clothes or your new ride.

But the white, red and black ones are different. I'm wowed by their generic look. You would think, under a new brand, that Wade would want to make a big splash.

Like I said earlier, these aren't supposed to be the finished product. Maybe his line will get better in the coming months, but this was a poor start.

Design Factor: 6.5 out of 10

I was expecting more imagination from Wade here, but that didn't happen. The last shoes I took a hard look at were Kobe Bryant's Snake Pools.

Maybe that's a tough pair to put these against, but it's pitting star against star, stylish athlete versus stylish athlete.

Let's look at the black and yellowish-green kicks first. The all-black look is nice; it's very nice. I could do without the laces in the main picture.

But, those things can be altered for others who feel the same. Look, don't they look much better in this picture:

Wade kept it simple here, and it works.

I wish i could say the same for the white, red and black arrangement he's sporting in the other hand.

The rippled black tongue looks great, but the shoes get worse the lower you go. The off-white part at the bottom of the show transitions poorly into the speckled red portion of the sole. For me, it looks tacky.

If you're picking one pair of these, pick the black set.

Overall Swag Grade: 7 out of 10

I'm being nice, because that black shoe is growing on me every time I glance at the picture. Also, Wade's claim that this isn't the final product for his line is encouraging as well.

So he can chalk up his seven here to hope in the future and one really nice shoe.

Sneakers aren't all about the look for some people.

If you're a collector, you have a reason to buy these. They're the first thing produced by Wade since departing from the Jordan/Nike umbrella.

If you're a sneaker fanatic, Wade's name always attaches a certain meaning to things. He's a stylish, iconic athlete, and his name alone can make a sneaker worth wearing around your friends.

This is an experimental time for Wade's fashion taste. He spent nine years under Jordan's brand, and embarking on this new journey can't be easy.

Wade's game is nice, and at least he got one pair right. Maybe the final grade is a bit generous, but let's cut the man some slack.

Walking away from a big-time brand isn't an easy thing to do. Give him credit for putting these on display so quickly after the fact.


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